During his 45-year career, Brad Calbert has been in the trenches for every boom, bust and commercial real estate cycle between the two extremes in Denver.
As a commercial real estate broker, Calbert has been involved in the sale or finance of more than 150 transactions that totaled more than 30 million square feet.
Calbert’s deals covered every commercial real estate food group: office, retail, multifamily, industrial and land.
Just 80 selected investment transactions that Calbert brokered totaled more than $933.7 million. (Yes, I added them up.)
Market for the record books
Despite all of the market cycles he has witnessed, Calbert – president of the Denver office for Colliers International – has never seen so many diversified institutional buyers competing for commercial real estate investments as he saw last year in Denver.
And despite the volatile stock market, trade tussles with China and fears of a recession, Calbert is bullish on this year’s commercial real estate scene in Denver.
“There is going to continue to be unprecedented liquidity in both debt and equity” this year, predicted Calbert.
“I do not see a correction in 2019.”
As an example of Denver’s commercial real estate strength, Chipotle backing out of plans to move to California instead of moving its headquarters to Denver’s newest skyscraper is probably the best thing that happened to Hines, according to Calbert.
“I know there are a lot of tenants eager to take that Chipotle space” in the 40-story 1144 Fifteenth Street tower, developed by Hines.
Foreign investors love Denver
And last year, Calbert saw something he never had experienced before: a rush of foreign buyers who were not only kicking tires, but inking deals in Denver.
“I presented properties to multinational investors from Germany, Japan, South Korea and other countries last year,” Calbert said.
“They all made investments here,” Calbert said.
While commercial real estate prices may appear frothy to people who are in Denver, “if you are in Japan with negative yields or in Germany, with negative yields, our office prices are very attractive,” Calbert said.
Early next month, Calbert will be bringing his encyclopedic knowledge of the historical and current commercial real estate as the moderator of a blockbuster panel.
Calbert moderating CREJ panel
Calbert will moderate the final panel of the 2019 Colorado Commercial Real Estate Forecast Feb. 4. The forecast, sponsored by the Colorado Real Estate Journal, will held from 7 to 11:45 a.m.
More than 300 people are expected to attend the conference at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center.
The conference is anticipated to be the largest local commercial real estate investment in 2019.
Calbert will moderate the Investment Leaders panel.
To describe the people on the panel as investment leaders is an understatement.
- Evan Makovsky – managing partner, NAI Shames Makovsky;
- Marcel Arsenault – chairman and CEO, Real Capital Solutions;
- Doug Wells – CEO, Broe Real Estate Group;
- Christopher R. King – president & CEO, DPC Cos.;
- Mara E. Fabian – senior vice president, Lowe Enterprises.
“This is an incredible panel,” Calbert said.
“I think a lot of people will want to attend this conference just to hear what these people say. Everyone who hears them will leave with at least two or three great investment ideas,” Calbert noted.
Last month, Arsenault re-affirmed to Rebchook Real Estate Corner that he is calling for a recession in 2019.
Arsenault is Denver’s Sam Zell
I asked Calbert if he thought a recession was in the cards. Let’s face it: His crystal ball seems to be much more optimistic than Arsenault’s forecast.
“Marcel is a savant,” Calbert said. “He is the best market timer I have ever known. You have to take him seriously.”
On the other hand, “Marcel is kind of Sam Zell-ish. Sam, of course, is known as the grave dancer. Marcel is like Zell in that he makes his money by buying bargains in down markets. Marcel does not like to buy into strong market. I would not expect him to think the market is going to go great guns. But you can’t ignore what the guy says because he has such a good record of picking it right, historically.”
In addition to Calbert and his panel, a “Who’s Who” of office, industrial, investments, multifamily and retail specialists will participate in the CREJ conference.
Even self-storage will be represented in a presentation by Adam Schlosser, senior director of the National Self Storage Group for Marcus & Millichap.
A Who’s Who of Denver commercial real estate
Others participating in the conference include:
- Mike Winn – vice chairman, Institutional Properties, CBRE | Capital Markets;
- Patrick Devereaux – executive vice president, JLL;
- Dan Grooters – executive managing director, Newmark Knight Frank Capital Markets;
- David G. Tilton – principal, Capital Markets, Avison Young;
- Mark Katz – senior managing director; Denver Office co-head, HFF Inc.;
- David J. Link – managing director, NorthMarq Capital;
- James M. Bolt – executive vice president, CBRE;
- T.J. Smith, – principal, Colliers International;
- R.C. Myles – managing director, Cushman & Wakefield;
- Kristian Lichtenfels – director, HFF Inc.
- Shane Ozment – vice chairman, investment sales, Multifamily Capital Markets, Newmark Knight Frank Multifamily;
- David C. Martin – managing director – Capital Markets, Multifamily, JLL;
- Jordan Robbins – managing director, HFF;
- Dan Woodward – executive vice president, Multi Family Housing Major Accounts, CBRE;
- Jeffrey Riggs – president, Essex Financial Group
- Jon D. Hendrickson – managing director, Cushman & Wakefield;
- Ryan J. Bowlby – senior associate / associate director, Marcus & Millichap; and
- Baxter Fain – managing director, finance, JLL Capital Markets.
“This is going to be a great conference,” Calbert said. “I think people can expect to get not only investment ideas from my panel, but from every panel at the conference. This conference will be a great way to kick off what I think will be another great year in commercial real estate.”
Last year, he said, was the best ever for Denver’s Colliers office. I’m sure that was true for many brokerages.
“This year might even be better,” Calbert said.